Charles Olson: Quicks and Strings by Robin Blaser

#8 (June 1995), with 15 letters from Olson to Robin Blaser. “Charles Olson and I first met — head to head — in 1957, at The Tavern, which was, then, a white, weatherboarded, frame building with rooms, a bar-restaurant, and a swimming pool on the beach in Gloucester. The pool has since been filled, Tarmac’d and reformed into a parking lot. Don Allen, who had previously met Olson in New York, picked me up in Boston to take the train there — on a shining, early summer day. I’d come east of Chicago for the first time to Boston / Cambridge in July, 1955, hired from Berkeley as a librarian in the Widener Library. This move east was, it seemed to me, a reasonable response to an unanswered dream — out of my childhood reading of Hawthorne, I’d wanted to go to Bowdoin College. Since my desert west didn’t know how to go about that and the expense of it, I dreamt of going to Black Mountain College, after I’d read in some magazine that it was a community, free if you worked in the fields. But in 1941 or 2, Time Magazine said it was Communist. That was that, as far as any family support was concerned. I knew nothing about the American communal tradition except by way of The Blithedale Romance. So the ‘far east’ waited until Harvard turned up. Now, Olson was to my mind Old East, Atlantic, and I was Old West, having finally arrived at the Pacific. (It would be a delight to find myself in Olson’s ‘West 6’ in 1964, after he’d read Cups.) But there was a background for my first meeting with Olson. I knew what he looked like, having watched him from the mailroom off the ground-level, basement hallway of the Berkeley Library, strolling with Robert Duncan, Tom Parkinson, and William Everson, his head close to brushing the ceiling. The occasion was the publication in 1947 of Call Me Ishmael, the first challenge and punch, just as Spicer and I were studying Hawthorne and Melville with Roy Harvey Pearce — childhood reading that was rapidly becoming something else. I was too shy to come out of the mailroom, where I worked sorting. …”
Charles Olson: Part 1, Part 2

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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